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First cruise - I need your HELP!

First cruise - I need your HELP!

Old 09-21-2013, 10:35 AM
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Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: St. Louis Cnty, MO USA
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Originally Posted by heronfan View Post
I can not thank each of you enough for all your suggestions. I promise to use them all. For me this is a trip of a lifetime as I have always wanted to go on a cruise. Each of my 4 children were lucky to have this experience with their high school band. I was more than jealous. Can't wait and thanks again.
You have received many terrific tips on cruise travel. One that I didn't see is when taking a side excursion trip on shore, it's usually better to book it through the cruise ship's service. Because if the side excursion runs a bit late, they will hold the cruise ship from sailing off since it's one of their sponsored side trips. Have a terrific time!
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Old 09-21-2013, 06:02 PM
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Location: Wisconsin
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I've been on 7 cruises over about 25 yrs. I've never heard of an alcohol drinks pkg. The drinks are usually quite expensive but I don't drink much so I don't care. If you like wine some cruises let you purchase the bottle at dinner, then they'll store it for you and bring out at dinner when you want another glass. Some allow you to bring wine aboard and charge a corking fee to serve it to you. That's handy if you find some wine in a port that you'd like to try. I've known people to pack a bottle of booze in their suitcases and mix drinks in their room. It's not usually allowed but they are so busy trying to get everybody's luggage to the staterooms that I've never heard of anyone getting caught.
Usually there's one or 2 formal nights. Even a nice dressy pair of slacks with a dressy looking blouse or sweater and jewelry is acceptable on most cruises. Usually the cruise's website will have a link to "What to Wear". Most cruises have a meeting on the first full day to discuss the itinerary and things to do while ashore and most will sell various tours but you don't need to buy one if you are comfortable exploring on your own. You often get maps of the ports and good guidelines to keep you safe.
If the ship is large there will lots to do on board. Most will put a daily schedule of events in your room each night for the next day or have it on the TV monitor so you can choose what you would like to do.
If there's a chance you'll get seasick, go to a DR. beforehand and they'll give you something to prevent it.
And don't overpack. Plan your clothes so that the colors go with each other so you can mix and match and make several outfits out of few clothes
Most of all, relax and have fun!!
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Old 09-21-2013, 07:00 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: San Antonio, TX
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You have gotten a lot of great suggestions. My husband and I had gone on 9 cruises before I lost him, mostly on Royal Carribbean and Holland America. The only thing I can add to the great replies already made is my memory of our very first dinner in the dining room on our first cruise.

My husband and I were feeling intimidated, as we'd never been on a cruise before and assumed that the other 6 couples sharing our dining table were rich and did this kind of thing all the time. When we were seated at the table we saw so many knives, forks and spoons that we were worried we would do something wrong. As we were getting to know the other couples at the table, one of the other husbands said 'I have no idea what to do with all this silverware'. Well, that comment broke the ice, and we discovered that all of us were on our first cruise; two couples had won their cruises in a contest, another couple was gifted the cruise by their children, and the rest of us had saved for a very long time to go on a cruise. Everyone relaxed after that, and we had a great time talking about our day's experiences every night at dinner with this group.

Thankfully, the service staff would remove unneeded silver when you made your selections from the menu, and if you were still confused you just had to give them a look and they would discreetly point at the correct silverware to use for a particular dish when they placed it in front of you.

I guess the moral of the story is that most people worry more about how they appear to others than they worry about how others appear to them. So please don't avoid the elegant dining experiences - you'll have great company and a lovely experience.

PS: On another cruise, the two couples sharing our table weren't as open or easy going, but it became a lot of fun for my husband and I to take bets before we went to dinner on who would complain about what first, etc.
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Old 09-21-2013, 08:03 PM
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Join Date: May 2008
Location: Rocky Mountains
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I am not planning a cruise in the near future, but my daughter and son-in-law have their first one planned for next spring. I am passing on these suggestions knowing this will help them.
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Old 09-21-2013, 11:56 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Sacramento, Ca. USA
Posts: 311

I have been to Aruba and Curacao both twice. Plus the other 2 places once. I love cruising. I am physically challenged. I use either a scooter or wheelchair. The cruise staff treat me like I'm special. The first time I was in Curacao in 1999 I took a jeep ride around the island. I picture the island all green and lush. Not this island. Because it is in the shadow of South America they don't get that much rain fall. so the interior has cactus and looked like a desert. We stopped for lunch and on the menu was iguana. I didn't get it but kick myself now just so I can say I tried it. The main town is so cute. It was a Dutch Island so it looks Dutch. Every building is painted brightly. Go on the internet and look these places up. You can even have them send you stuff. Enjoy.
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Old 09-22-2013, 12:10 PM
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Location: Independence, MO
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The only cruise I have been on was on our 45th anniversary 3 years ago. We flew to Los Angeles and then to Honolulu where we boarded the Norwegian cruise ship, Pride of America and cruised from island to island. That cruise was "freestyle" so there were no formal requirements. The ship had 4 nice restaurants and 2 large dining rooms, so we had our choice of where we wanted to eat and what kind of food we wanted We did dress up for a special dinner in one of the nicer restuurants on our anniversary. Different cruise lines have different dress codes. Your travel agent should be able to tell you. You will love cruising. Enjoy!

The only thing I would do differently is not book so many day trips at port stops. We had a day trip every day except the last day (7 day cruise) and we were exhausted. They also had a lot of daily activities on the ship that we missed because we left the ship early in the morning and returned in time for dinner in the evening. (and the onboard activities were included in the price of the cruise---the day trips were extra.

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